About a month ago, I headed over to Missoula, Montana to spend the day documenting the locally famous “Empanada Lady” for Montana Quarterly Magazine. These are the kind of assignments that I really love to do. Shooting for the magazine is a way to continue the long form journalism that we don’t get to do that often at the daily newspaper. For these I get to spend more time with my subjects and try to show more of what they are all about. The story was about Kimberly Olson who with her young daughter Lucia, has created a buzz around the local Missoula farmers markets as the “Empanada Lady” and has turned the small South American snack into a popular foodie favorite around town. What is unique about her business is that she uses all organic, local ingredients and operates her empanadas business all from the back of her bicycle. It was my goal to try to show her process of running her small business and give the readers slice of her life through images. When I was traveling down in southern Chile, my brother and I lived off of empanadas so this was a bit of a trip down taste bud lane for me. This woman is a talented chef and a hard working single mother. Her empanadas are delicious. If you are ever in Missoula during a weekend, be sure to swing by her food stand and try them out. Cheers! -M
When I was covering the recent Battle Under the Big Sky state roller derby tournament, I took the time to setup a portrait studio to capture all of the colorful character that participate in this up and coming sport. While roller derby is a team sport, it’s also a venue for the individual to shine through both in their game play and their decorations of their outfits. These are some of my favorite portraits I made that day. Thanks for looking. -M
About a month ago, I was assigned to document the rise of Women’s Roller Derby throughout the state for Montana Quarterly Magazine. The sport is growing both in participation of ladies who dig contact sports and with their fan base who like watching girls beat the crap out of eachother throughout many Montana towns. This year, the Battle Under the Big Sky state tournament was held in Billings, Montana and I spent the weekend hanging out with many of the teams with the goal of shedding some light onto this quickly growing sport and the artistic culture/comradery around it. These girls don’t mess around nor are they afraid to give or take a hit. These are some of my favorite images from covering the event. While I’m still trying to wrap my head around the rules of the sport, it is apparent that this high energy contact sport isn’t going anywhere but up. Thanks for looking. -M
One of my favorite things about my new position at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle is the fact that in addition to providing daily photos, we also publish numerous high quality, in depth magazines that allow us photographers an opportunity to produce long form documentary photo stories. With the state of the newspaper industry these days, it’s rare that a news organization can support this type of investigative journalism. In many ways it feels like I’m working for a bigger metro paper because usually only the bigger news organizations have the budget to produce this type of content. For a photojournalist and storyteller like myself, it is an incredible opportunity and one I relish.
About a month ago, I traveled east to the border of Eastern Montana and North Dakota on assignment for the Montana Quarterly magazine, to spend a couple days documenting the happenings of the oil boom that is sweeping the edge of the Great Plains. While national debate argues over the best direction for future energy consumption, be that green technology or our country’s dependence on foreign oil, the rush to mine the Bakken’s huge, expansive domestic oil deposits through a controversial method of hydraulic fracturing drilling are in full swing and are severely impacting the way of life, both good and bad, for these small Montana and North Dakota towns. In all aspects, it is becoming the new industrialization of the Great Plains. As a result, these towns struggle to maintain their small town culture while trying to support the wave of workers that are flooding in from all across the country looking for work. Their basic services and infrastructure (trash clean up, housing, road systems, sewage and water treatment, etc.) can barely keep up to support this boom. For the locals who own land or property, they are getting rich but for many other non-oil related businesses, the boom is crippling or eliminating their small businesses due to their inability to compete for employees with the high wages given from the oil companies. Many small businesses are collapsing as a result.
My assignment was to document how these drastic changes are effecting the local culture while giving insight to what the conditions are like for the traveling journeymen and oil rough necks (often living out of their cars or run down “Man Camps”) seeking to cash in on the oil boom out on the Bakken. Work there is abundant if you possess the right labor skills but more often than not, the lure of big oil brings a mixture of violent and sexual offenders mixed with honest folks trying to support their own loved ones elsewhere. For many of them, the Bakken is a chance for them to run away from poverty. Having only a couple days to get the story, I was limited in how deep I could immerse myself into the scene. These images are what I was able to take away from the experience. The story recently published in the Summer issue of the Montana Quarterly magazine and is on newsstands now. Reporting on the developments of the Bakken Oil fields are just beginning and it will be interesting to see how the ongoing debates develop over our country’s thirst for domestic energy and to see what the future holds for the Bakken and the people in it. You can read the entire story via pdf by following this link Money from the Earth. Cheers, -M